Koreas on high alert as typhoon approaches peninsula

2020-09-03 03:18:30 GMT2020-09-03 11:18:30(Beijing Time) Sina English
Two men watch the high waves brought by Typhoon Maysak on Haeundae beach in Busan on Wednesday.  Two men watch the high waves brought by Typhoon Maysak on Haeundae beach in Busan on Wednesday.

Flights were grounded in South Korea and storm warnings issued on both sides of the Korean peninsula as a typhoon forecast to be one of the most powerful in years made its approach on Wednesday.

More than 300 domestic departures were canceled as Typhoon Maysak churned across waters south of the resort island of Jeju, packing gusts of up to 162 kilometers per hour.

South Korea’s weather agency said the typhoon will affect most of the country and warned of potential damage from “very strong winds and very hard rain.” As the storm approached, trees snapped and highways were flooded in Jeju. Cars splashed through wet roads amid heavy rain in the mainland coastal city of Gangneung. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the storm was forecast to be similar in strength to 2003’s Typhoon Maemi, which left 131 people dead and more than 4 trillion won (US$3 billion) in damage.

Maysak, named after a Cambodian tree, was predicted to make landfall early Thursday west of Busan on the southern coast, then make its way up the eastern side of the peninsula before heading northward into the Sea of Japan.

“The winds could become more powerful” into Thursday, South Korea’s Meteorological Administration said, forecasting heavy downpours of more than 400 millimeters. The Busan city deployed tens of thousands of sandbags around the port city to fend off floodwaters.

Maysak was forecast to make landfall again later Thursday near Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s industrial city of Chongjin.

Pyongyang’s state media said authorities had taken “urgent measures” to minimize the damage.


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